James Taylor (album)

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James Taylor
Studio album by James Taylor
Released December 6, 1968
Recorded July–October, 1968 at Trident Studios, London
Genre Folk rock
Length 38:30
Label Apple
Producer Peter Asher
James Taylor chronology
James Taylor
(1968)
Sweet Baby James
(1970)
Singles from James Taylor
  1. "Carolina in My Mind"
    Released: February 1969

James Taylor is singer-songwriter James Taylor's debut album. Released in 1968, it was the first recording by a non-British artist released by Apple Records, and would also be Taylor's only release on that label. The album was released under the title First Album on the South African market.

Background[edit]

The album was produced by Peter Asher, who was A&R head for The Beatles' newly formed label Apple Records.[1] Taylor recorded the album from July to October 1968 at Trident Studios, at the same time The Beatles were recording The White Album.[2][3] Trident was the most technologically advanced studio in England at the time and was in high demand; some session time booked by The Beatles was used instead to record Taylor's album. Paul McCartney and Peter Asher brought in arranger Richard Hewson to add orchestrations to several of the songs and unusual "link" passages in between them; these would receive a mixed reception at best.[4][5]

Songs[edit]

Notable songs include the Taylor classics "Something in the Way She Moves," "Carolina in My Mind" and "Rainy Day Man". McCartney and an uncredited George Harrison guested on "Carolina in My Mind", the lyric of which, "holy host of others standing around me", made reference to the Beatles, while the title phrase of Taylor's "Something in the Way She Moves" provided the starting point for Harrison's classic "Something."[4][6] (Coincidentally, Taylor has said he had meant for the song to be called "I Feel Fine" - after a dominant line in the chorus - but the title had already been taken by a "Beatles song.") Taylor also recorded a very early version of "Fire and Rain," which would be his breakthrough hit on his second album, but Asher did not choose it for the album release.[7]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [8]
Rolling Stone (positive) [5]
Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars [9]

The album was released by Apple Records in December 1968 in the UK and February 1969 in the US.[10] Critical reaction was generally good, including a very positive Jon Landau review in Rolling Stone that said "this album is the coolest breath of fresh air I've inhaled in a good long while. It knocks me out."[5] The record's commercial potential suffered from Taylor's inability to promote it due to his hospitalization for drug addiction and it sold poorly.[10] "Carolina in My Mind" b/w "Something's Wrong" was released as a single in the UK (APPLE 32) in February 1969, but failed to chart.[10] It was released as a single in US (Apple 1805) in March 1969, but only reached #118 in the US.[10] "Knocking 'Round the Zoo" was released as a single in France (APF 506) backed with "Something's Wrong."[11]

Because of the difficulty of obtaining licensing rights from Apple during the 1970s, "Something in the Way She Moves" and "Carolina in My Mind" were re-recorded in 1976 for Taylor's Greatest Hits album.

Track listing[edit]

All songs by James Taylor unless otherwise noted. Times are from the original Apple LP vinyl label.

Side one
  1. "Don't Talk Now" – 2:36
  2. "Something's Wrong" – 3:00
  3. "Knocking 'Round the Zoo" – 3:26
  4. "Sunshine Sunshine" – 3:30
  5. "Taking It In" – 3:01
  6. "Something in the Way She Moves" – 2:26
Side two
  1. "Carolina in My Mind" – 3:36
  2. "Brighten Your Night With My Day" – 3:05
  3. "Night Owl" – 3:38
  4. "Rainy Day Man" (Taylor, Wiesner) – 3:00
  5. "Circle Round the Sun" (Traditional arr. Taylor) – 3:24
  6. "Blues Is Just a Bad Dream" – 3:42
CD bonus tracks (2010 remaster)
  1. "Sunny Skies" (Demo) – 2:12
  2. "Let Me Ride" – 3:57
  3. "Sunshine Sunshine" (Demo) – 2:51
  4. "Carolina in My Mind" (Demo) – 3:06

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ White, Timothy. James Taylor: Long Ago and Far Away, Omnibus Press, 2002, ISBN 0-7119-9193-6. pp. 134–135.
  2. ^ White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 136–137.
  3. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles: Recording Sessions. Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.  p. 146.
  4. ^ a b White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 137–140.
  5. ^ a b c Landau, Jon (April 19, 1969). "James Taylor James Taylor > Album Review". Rolling Stone (31). Archived from the original on 2 June 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2006. 
  6. ^ Cross, Craig (2004). "Beatles songs - S". Archived from the original on 2004-06-03. Retrieved 2004-06-03. 
  7. ^ According to the liner notes on Apple's reissue of this album.
  8. ^ Planer, Lindsay. James Taylor (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2004.
  9. ^ Coleman, Mark with Edmonds, Ben (2004). "James Taylor". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 804–805. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  Portions posted at "James Taylor > Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d White, Long Ago and Far Away, pp. 142–144.
  11. ^ "Knocking 'Round the Zoo". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-06-30.